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Monday, April 13, 2009
Chemistry class in Seattle

The Mariners are 5-2, and Geoff Baker writes that new manager Don Wakamatsu likes the chemistry ...
  AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
  New Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu has the Mariners off to a 5-2 start.
We should definitely talk after that. But let's talk for a moment now, too.

I was fairly optimistic about the 2009 Mariners. Before the season I had them winning 77 games, which isn't bad. Actually, it's outstanding, considering that they lost 101 games last season.

I don't know if the M's will benefit this season from heightened accountability. I do know that teams, historically, have sometimes responded well to a new manager. I also know that Erik Bedard pitched like a Cy Young winner just two seasons ago, and that Felix Hernandez, if he's healthy, is going to pitch like a Cy Young winner at some point in the next two or three seasons.

So if we throw in a few extra wins for Wakamatsu and two strong seasons from Hernandez and Bedard, the Mariners are right around .500, and it's quickly becoming apparent that right around .500 has you in the mix of contenders in the American League West. At this point in the West -- and the same is true of the Central, by the way -- there's simply no such thing as a non-contender.